Stephen Hawking, world-renowned astrophysicist, has died at the age of 76 at his home. Hawking was one of the world's best known and most highly-regarded scientists. His children confirmed his passing in a statement. Here's what they had to say.
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. He once said, 'It would not be much of a universe if it wasn't home to the people you love.' We will miss him forever."
In the 60s, Stephen Hawking fell victim to a motor neuron disease that put him in a wheelchair. This never held him back and, as he wrote in a 1984 essay, "My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way." Hawking eventually rose to the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, a position that Isaac Newton once held. Cambridge vice chancellor Stephen Toope had this to say about Hawking in a statement.
"Professor Hawking was a unique individual who will be remembered with warmth and affection not only in Cambridge but all over the world. His exceptional contributions to scientific knowledge and the popularisation of science and mathematics have left an indelible legacy. His character was an inspiration to millions. He will be much missed."
After catching pneumonia in 1985, Stephen Hawking also lost the ability to speak. However, this led to the development of the appropriately titled speech-generating device that is closely associated with Hawking. Despite not being able to use his own voice to speak, Hawking regularly gave lectures and spoke publicly, continuing to be a voice for science education.
Stephen Hawking rose to fame in the 70s when his theoretical physics work on black holes and how the universe began was published. Along with physicist Roger Penrose, his work helped cement what we now know as the Big Bang Theory. Hawking became famous in the mainstream public when his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, was published. To date, the book has sold more than 10 million copies and was turned into a documentary in 1991.
Over the years, Stephen Hawking appeared in various TV shows, lending his voice to both The Simpsons and Futurama. He also appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation and, more recently, on episodes of The Big Bang Theory. The 2014 biopic The Theory of Everything chronicled Hawking's life. Eddie Redmayne, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hawking in the movie, had this to say in a statement following the news of his death.
"We have lost a truly beautiful mind, an astonishing scientist and the funniest man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. My love and thoughts are with his extraordinary family."
During his life, Stephen Hawking was married twice. His second marriage to his nurse, Elaine Mason, ended in 2006 and was subject to tabloid headlines at the time. Many in Hollywood have paid tribute to Hawking since his passing, including John Oliver, Simpsons writer Al Jean and Star Trek: The Next Generation star Brent Spiner, among many others. Hawking is survived by his three children. RIP, Stephen Hawking. You can check out tributes to Hawking for yourself below. This news comes to us courtesy of BBC.
Farewell to Stephen Hawking, the most intelligent guest star in the brief history of The Simpsons pic.twitter.com/po3fIHgEdh— Matt Selman (@mattselman) March 14, 2018
Farewell Stephen Hawking. A great man. Honored to have spent time with him. RIP.— Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) March 14, 2018
Stephen Hawking was a brilliant man, but he was also an incredibly funny man. It was a huge privilege to waste some of his time, and I'll never forget the twinkle in his eye here ...https://t.co/xUmm2qIAiN— John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) March 14, 2018
there’s a big black hole in my heart hours before Pi day. Rest In Peace @Steven_Hawking... See you in the next ❤️— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking. Genuinely very sad to hear that. If you haven’t, read A Brief History of Time. It’ll make the world feel more amazing and beautiful and strange. It’ll also make you feel smart and stupid all at once.— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) March 14, 2018
We can’t let Stephen Hawking’s passing slow the formation of Trump’s Space Force.— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) March 14, 2018
RIP Stephen Hawking pic.twitter.com/ItdGQKNKI7— John Abraham (@TheJohnAbraham) March 14, 2018
His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake. But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of spacetime that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018. pic.twitter.com/nAanMySqkt— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 14, 2018